• "So to come full circle with the sense of dissatisfaction with open world games: I think the way we experience them, by comparison with linear games, says something about how our gaming imagination functions. We seem to understand that when linear games point us in a certain direction, that’s the way to go. When an open world game appears, its very structure suggests something about how we should behave, or want to behave, and predisposes us to judge on the basis of how it entices us to go somewhere that the game itself hasn’t suggested, and on how it then deals with that action." Jim on open-world gaming.
  • "While creepily capitalist in its language, the scholarship within it is sound – echoing theories that Jacobs, Alexander others presented decades ago. What’s more – it contains a lot of the same arguments for iterative design that you see in traditional game design tomes. (For a special treat – try replacing the phrases like “destination” and “retail” with “MMO” and “boxed-game”)"
  • "Appfrica Labs is an investment company and software development firm that facilitates and incubates technology entrepreneurs in East Africa. We do this by offering a physical space with a solid internet connection, servers, software and computers that allows entrepreneurs a place to develop their ideas in a constructive environment with industry professionals as mentors, outside of school. Entrepreneur projects are refined and prepped to help them secure funding and launch sustainable, profitable businesses." I met Jon who runs Appfrica at TEDGlobal last week; it's a great idea and, by the sounds of things, doing very well.
  • "This week’s 1UP FM is a fascinating round table/interview with Jonathan Blow, David Hellman, Rod Humble, and Sean Elliott and Nick Suttner from 1UP… If you’re at all interested in Braid, experimental game design, or the ethics of games you should go listen now." In the meantime, Ben Zeigler has provided some excellent annotation for us all.
  • "Over the last few years, there has been a big shift in power and success away from independent studios, and towards in-house, publisher-owned studios. This has been driven by several things, sound economic reasons, competitive reasons, and because the strong independent studios had done a good job at creating a slew of new IPs (which publishers were eager to snap up, as always). In my experience relatively few people in the games industry realise this… So, what’s next? What’s going to happen over the next 3-5 years?" Adam on the business of the games industry, and what's facing it next.

Dopplr: Huge Success

11 December 2007

Just a brief post here to unashamedly promote the work of some friends. As the title hints, Dopplr – the little startup that could – is now out of beta and releasing on time. It’s a great site – a product that exists not to make you travel more, or travel less, but to make that travel more pleasurable, by fostering coincidensity.

Now, I don’t travel a great amount, so I put “smaller” trips than most people in. Somebody once laughed that I put trips to visit my parents in. But that’s where other useful functionality of Dopplr comes in handy: it lets my trusted friends know when I’m not around. Sometimes, I’m telling you I’m away, not that I’ll be there.

And it’s super-handy if you don’t travel much, but you have foreign friends – it’s already engineered several “oh, you’re passing through London?” meet-ups for me, that otherwise I’d never have had.

So, Dopplr: if you’ve not been playing with it in the beta, take a look. It’s wonderfully put together, with lots of tiny touches that make all the difference. And if you’re not sure that it’s quite for you… think again; it might come in handy. The only thing you need to get your head around: it’s not about your friendsters. It’s about your friends. Proper, real-life friends. You need the people you know on it – but once they are, it makes the business of global friendship so much easier…